Today is day two of the third FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) cycle Scott and I have attempted. This one is different. This cycle, we won’t be transferring our last little snowflake. Instead, our RE will be taking a biopsy of my endometrium and sending it off to a lab for testing. This test examines 235 genes involved in expression of receptivity. It will tell us if my lining is post-receptive, meaning that the transfer should be done earlier; or that my lining is receptive, meaning that the transfer should be done on that day of progesterone exposure; or prereceptive, meaning that we need more progesterone exposure before transferring our embryo. You can read more about the test here.
Why are we doing this? Well, because we have transferred two perfect blasts (embryos who have reached day 5 of development and have begun hatching) with perfect hormone levels and lining, and both failed. The first was with our own embryo. At 42, my levels were great and my response to the stimulation drugs was great – we got 13 eggs at retrieval. Of those 13, 11 of them fertilized (we used ICSI) and of those 11, 6 made it to 5 or 6 day blasts. We then had them frozen and biopsied for PGD. Now comes the sad part. Of our 6 precious embryos, only ONE was genetically normal. Damn you, biology. It was a girl. We named her Sophie. We transferred her in late November, right before our December fourth wedding, and my fall 2L finals. We were devastated when we found out she did not stick around to become part of our family.
We then decided that it was too risky to try to use my eggs, given the PGD results of our IVF attempt. We decided to use donor eggs. I have given birth to three beautiful children. I have experienced life growing inside me, and I know without a doubt that I will not love any child conceived with my husband one iota less than I do my biological children. No matter how we end up growing our family, I will love our child just as much as I do the older three. We chose a donor who looked a lot like my youngest daughter as a child. The lab created two perfect little embryos and froze them. No need for PGD this time; the donor was 22 and had been extensively screened for known genetic diseases. In our regular workup prior to transfer, we discovered I had some small endometrial polyps. I had to have those removed and be cleared again before we did a transfer. I had the surgery in March, and we transferred a few days before our large reception in May, right AFTER my spring 2L finals. We all had such high hopes. Again, we were devastated.
We have a very loving, caring RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist). Dr. Shahine and I had a long talk after the second failed FET. There was no clinical reason for the failure. They only do single, high quality, embryo transfers. One failing is not unusual, but two is. There were no red flags or markers indicating there was something off. It should have worked. She suggested I take some time off, let my body and emotions heal. Get myself healthy again. She also mentioned the receptivity test, saying that it was a tool we could use to pinpoint the best day to transfer our remaining embryo, but that it was ultimately up to us. Scott and I decided to take six months off and concentrate on our family and my overall health. We threw out all plastic in the house and replaced it with glass and metal. We started eating all organic, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free whole foods. Eliminated as many chemicals and additives and preservatives as we could from my diet. I also switched all my personal and cosmetic items to a non-toxic brand, Beautycounter. We planned a trip for our whole family right in the middle of my fall semester to Disney World so that I could decompress and spend some quality time with my family; Law school is a major drain on quality family time.
In late September, I e-mailed my coordinator and set up our first round of appointments, anticipating a January 2018 transfer. We have a single embryo in cryo. As time went on, we decided that we wanted to do the ERA testing prior to transferring our last snowflake. We want to be sure we’ve done all that we can to make sure he or she has the best chance of sticking around.
So today is day 2. I have a pile of work to do. I can’t concentrate. Scott is incredibly patient and pampers me like the Queen he sees me as. I don’t feel deserving of it most days. I can only imagine what it’s like to watch me go through all the injections and hormonal ups and downs. Three more days of Lupron/BCP overlap. Eight more days of 10 unit/day Lupron. Relief after my suppression check and adding estrogen shots doesn’t come until the 27. Meanwhile, I have the last two weeks of my last fall semester of Law School. I have clients’ estate planning documents to finish up. I have important things to do. I have Christmas decorating with the family. All I want to do is sleep. Lupron sucks.